Tucson's musical savant Howe Gelb has released an album of mostly instrumental keyboard music, Ogle Some Piano. It's a curious disc, even by Gelb's eccentric standards – nineteen tracks of piano meanderings in a variety of styles: jazz, rock, pop, tin pan alley and experimental avant-garde weirdness. And the titles seem a parody of art-rock pretentiousness: "Spangle Bib of Radiant Value," "Hammered and Hampered, We Then Took the Deeds Down by the Dozen," and "Someday They Will Have a Name for What Ails You as Opposed to Being Saddled with Speck Elation" are representative. The best tracks include Joey Burns on double bass and John Convertino on drums, making these tracks more or less Giant Sand pieces. There are also contributions from the usual suspects, including Nick Luca and Craig Schumacher of Wave Lab studios in Tucson, and the late great Rainer Ptacek as well.
One of the first things that strikes you about Howe Gelb and 'Sno Angel's Like You or Howe Gelb's 'Sno Angel Like You, depending on how you wish to see the project , is that Gelb recorded this set with a gospel choir from Canada called Voices of Praise and he called the project "Sno Angel" and they made this record called "Like You." Anyway, you get the idea; it's one of the Arizona desert dweller's typically arcane musings. Gelb recorded this baby in Ottawa with drummer Jeremy Gara who now skins with Arcade Fire. There are a few other musicians hanging out and playing here as well; most notably Dave Draves on B-3 (Gelb plays one too), and Fred Guignon, who plays a mean slide guitar on six tracks. There are no gospel tunes here in the proper sense. This is a Howe Gelb record. You know – slippery, loose, mistakes left in, hummable – it's less quirky because the new tunes were written with the choir in mind.
The Coincidentalist is Howe Gelb's first solo album since 2011's Alegrias, and his debut for New West Records. In 2012, his ever-evolving Giant Sand issued the sprawling "country rock opera" Tucson, which marked his return to the desert after spending most of the previous decade in Denmark. Self-produced, The Coincidentalist is a mostly low-key affair with a stellar mix by John Parish. As has been his M.O. for most of the last three decades, Gelb enlists a fine cast of co-conspirators: longtime bassist Thoger Tetens Lund, former Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley, M. Ward on lead guitar, and the Silver Thread Trio (Gabrielle Pietrangelo, Laura Kepner-Adney, and Caroline Isaacs) on chorus vocals.
In 2006, Howe Gelb embarked on a journey with a gospel choir with the result the astounding, critically acclaimed album Sno' Angel Like You. This new chapter sees Howe embellish a troop of amenco playing gypsies, including the virtuoso guitarist Raimundo Amador (collaborated with Bjork and BB King) and is mixed by the legendary John Parish (PJ Harvey). Recorded atop a Cordoba roof with his 'Band Of Gypsies' in the AndalucAa sun, Alegrias, is an exceptional new work from Howe Gelb. Originally only available in Spain, where the record enjoyed considerable success due in part to the wondrous contribution from Flamenco guitar virtuoso Raimundo Amador, Fire is pleased to be releasing the latest jewel in the considerable crown of Howe Gelb's musical delights.